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Early Start, Strong Finish

Andrew Spargo didn't know what his daughter would be studying in 16 years, but he was sure she'd be pursuing it at college. With time on his side and tuition rates trending up, Andrew opened a Private College 529 account to help pay for the future cost of college. Where did Andrew’s daughter end up? Did saving early really help?

Andrew Spargo prefers his newspaper fresh off the press, not online. So, it was while reading The Wall Street Journal in 2003 that he saw an ad for a new way to save for college, called Independent 529 (now Private College 529 Plan).


A no-brainer, a guarantee with no risk.


Andrew, a property and casualty insurance broker in Florida, instantly saw that prepaid tuition eliminated risk while saving for college. “In those years, college tuition was going up remarkably. So, to me, it was a no-brainer, a guarantee with no risk,” said Andrew.

At the time, Andrew’s daughter, Naomi, was just two years old. His family had significant funds in a state 529 plan and moved some of those assets to Private College 529.

With a child so young, Andrew had no idea what she would be interested in by college. But he was impressed by the range of schools in the plan. “The flexibility and choice the plan offers were ideal,” said Andrew. He explained that the plan’s diversity in schools is much broader than what’s offered by his own state prepaid tuition plan.

Years later, when Naomi began her college search, he reminded her of all the schools in Private College 529. She wanted to pursue a double major in math and computer science. She applied and was accepted by four schools and just completed her freshman year at Carnegie Mellon.

As for mom and dad, the tuition they prepaid 17 years ago was about half the cost of the current rate at Carnegie Mellon. They saved more than $25,000 on Naomi’s freshman year, with still more savings in the remaining years until graduation.

Andrew’s savings advice to parents with young children: “Do it. Do it as soon as possible.”

Family originally shared their story in June 2020

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